Last weekend, Maya Angelou was on hand for the unveiling of her portrait in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. The image of the poet and author was created by Ross Rossin and donated to the gallery by former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young, according to The Washington Post.
Angelou attended a Rosenwald School in Stamps, Arkansas. She described her experience growing up under segregation for the 1993 documentary The Great Depression. Although she said her school (the Lafayette County Training School) was “grand,” she remembered the hand me down books her school got from the white school in town, and how the students were expected to make repairs to the bindings. One of Angelou’s teachers saw her potential and was able to get her some new books:
I had never seen a new book until Mrs. Flowers brought books from the white school for me to read. The slick pages, I couldn’t believe it, and that’s when I think my first anger, real anger at the depressive and the oppressive system began.
We plan to incorporate parts of this interview in The Rosenwald Schools documentary.